A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings- An Indian Retelling

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A summary retelling of the viral short story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez by Abel Kurian

The sleepy town was torn away by the wrath of the thunderstorm. The foggy weather practiced a choir, with each zapping bringing the two worlds together. The modern inhabitants looked up at all the dots in the velvet sky. It seemed as if one was falling with the cartoonish realization of the loony coyote. The cacophony stopped the souls from stirring.

Ravi and Suma were startled to see the speckled land behind their stretch of land. He had wished for a good yield of crops when it passed by. But he did not expect it to land with good yield. He soon discovered, amidst the smoke, the ‘it’ was a he. The pale moonlight showed an old man with wings as grey as his beard locks. To his surprise, the old fairy could tuck his mode of transport away.

Ravi slowly walked up to the shaken up man and asked him who he was. The old teeth grinned and explained that he was from the heavens above. Ravi felt a rock down his throat and slowly moved away from the hideous creature. Suma looked on and shut the door behind him.

‘He looks a bit old and weak for Yama’, exclaimed Ravi who continuously, was after his medicines. Suma, who was a double hypochondriac, was too dazed as she had not slept in a millennium.

The morning started off with Ravi and his wife hurling the beast into their cramped kitchen. The creature looked pale and ready to give up his quest. He looked gloomy and stale like the papayas offered to him. But his eyes were steadfast and protruding, which made him look like an apprentice of the devil.

’A truly complex character’ murmured Ravi at a tone which his nearly deaf wife couldn’t hear.

At a glance, they felt a touch of servitude towards him. Ravi brought to him the finest fruits of his garden and Suma cooked up a nice broth. But at some point, he felt sorry for the fickle-minded duo as he soared up the chimney and out into the summer afternoon.

The town was decorated with tar, bricks, and metals. It was undergoing an uncalled transformation. The vegetation and fields were enveloped under the small skyscrapers and complexes alike. The town donned a cape of a concrete jungle, with itty bits of rustic village panache’.

It looked like a cyborg Hercules. He first perched upon the roofs of the buildings, with the other feathered aviators as there were no more trees.
The tantriks and priests explained to the couple that this vision of the old man was a good omen and that it meant to bring prosperity into their lives.

The blessing came in the form of smug suits and money grandeur. They spoke about stretches and stretches of land. Like a monkey to bananas, Ravi agreed for a high and handsome sum. The land was taken, bashed, crumbled and the soul of the soil was possessed by the futuristic tools of dystopian noir.

Therefore Thiruvalla was in a muffled up condition, with it spewing up rocks and rubble and stinking of coal and tar. The old man looked around in vain. He had encountered just three souls when he flew out of his nest.

The first was a sociopath who wanted him to don clothing and was gravely concerned about his wings. He offered his advice,’ Sir, we can replace these wings of yours with aluminum gliders. A lighter metal for flight enthusiasts like yourself’.

The old man chuckled and explained that he did not need any gizmos for flying.

Then he met a madman who asked him to shun God. The old man was distraught after that meeting, especially after they crowned him as a friend of the guy below. He didn’t buy it one bit as he believed that he was here not to be the lord or the devil, neither the destroyer nor the redeemer. He fled from the crazy alley to find himself lost again.

Another man came by and tried to catch him as if he were a fish. The people of the town had woken up to find the old man, and he was finally capable of seeing them all. He was put inside a glass tumbler about the size of him, and the authorities stood guard. They paraded him around like a deity but rarely gave him respect like one. He could not be stuck in this mausoleum of the past, as he had much to offer for the future.

He escaped yet again. He thought to himself, ’This is not the welcoming party I had in mind, why, their forefathers were crying when I left them. They would water my creepers with tear drizzles’. He quickly flew back to Ravi’s abode. He felt a need to bid farewell to the old couple. Ravi and Suma explained that old people are often forgotten even before they die. The senile being nodded in agreement.

The people were confused sheep without a shepherd. The wolves were anyone who wanted them as dumb as they were. The nightmare was the future they were walking into. Well, there was truly nothing left for him to do, as this entire town was spinning out of control. He was as eager and earnest to go back into the velvet sky as much as he enjoyed coming out of it.

But he did address the couple as the beneficiaries of his limited powers as a heavenly being or a messenger as the mythologies suggested. The hype and hullabaloo created around him were temporary as the people did not feel the inclination towards legendary beliefs, instead a scientific progression scared them. But the people did not realize an important fact. They just missed the founder of the town.

Abel KurienAbout the Author: Abel Kurian is a First-Year Journalism and Communication student at Manipal Institute of Communication. Aspiring filmmaker and writer who believes in the simple things that articulate the deepest meanings of life.

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